SD-006 Battle Mountain


According to tradition, American Indians were stricken with an epidemic known as "fell disease" about the middle of the 16th century that threatened to obliterate the tribes. A Messenger arrived from the Great West with news of a wonderful water which, he said, had been touched by the finger of the Great Spirit and would cure all manner of diseases. Indians came to these springs by the thousands.

After a lapse of more than 200 years, the Cheyenne took possession of the springs and built an immense tipi city covering hundreds of acres.

In the following years, the Sioux migrated west and disputed the ownership of the springs. This culminated in a fierce conflict in about 1869, the memory of which is preserved in the name of the eminence to the east, Battle Mountain, where the besieged Cheyenne established fortifications. The Sioux won the battle and possession of the springs which they called Wi-wi-la-kah-to (Springs - hot). They called the area Minnekahta (Water - hot) and termed the Black Hills a great "Medicine Home".

After the Battle Mountain fight, tradition says the Sioux and Cheyenne agreed to allow the springs to be a health sanctuary to give their sick and lame the benefit of the healing waters. Around 1880, pioneers began to settle the area.

Erected in 1990 by The City of Hot Springs, The South Dakota State Historical Society, The State Department of Transportation

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